PASCO COUNTY, FLA - A deputy rushes into a home after a report of a house fire, saving a 97-year-old woman’s life.
Theresa Mitchka called 911 early Thursday morning because she smelled smoke. She said her mother has a number of medical issues and cannot get out of bed without assistance and she knew the heaviest smoke was in her bedroom.
“I went into her room and it was total smoke and she was gagging,” Mitchka said.
She tried helping her mother, but couldn’t do it alone. She credits the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office for saving her mother.
“I was trying to get her out of bed and there he was,” Mitchka said.
Deputy Justin Ball said initially, he did not see any flames when he responded to the home along Carnation Way in Port Richey. Once he was inside the home he said he saw heavy smoke. Corporal Jeffrey Brown entered the home right after Deputy Ball. Deputy Ball requested that he get a fire extinguisher from one of the patrol units.
Deputy Ball picked up and carried Maria Logan out of the house.
“It felt really good to know the other side of being law enforcement. It’s not always about arresting bad guys and protecting the community. Sometimes we have to save them in other (ways),” Deputy Ball said.
At first, Deputy Ball had tried putting the fire out, using a pillow. Cpl. Brown used the fire extinguisher. The smoke was heavy so everyone got out of the house.
“I was relieved that momma’s getting out because I wasn’t going to leave her there,” Mitchka said.
According to Pasco County Fire Rescue, the cause of the fire appears to be a pillow on a nightlight.
Mitchka said she is thankful for what the deputy and corporal did for her family. As it was happening, she said she did not realize they were not firefighters.
“I am extremely grateful and I hope that the deputy that got the smoke inhalation (who) helped me with her is alright,” Mitchka said.
Deputy Ball was transported to Bayonet Point Medical Center. Deputy Ball said he is okay and does not have permanent damage.
“Ball did a great job this morning getting there (and) saving (her) life. Absolutely,” Cpl. Brown said.
Mitchka said her mother will stay at a nursing home for a few days because of the damage to their home.